Video Game Reviews

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
TT Games/Warner Bros. Interactive
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: DS, 3DS, PC, Vita, PS3, Wii U, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Street: 10.22.13
This is about as inclusive of an all-in-one Marvel experience as you’re going to get in a video game. This game went all out by creating a massive LEGO NYC to play in with every hotspot in the Marvel canon, allowing you to visit and fight everything from the Fantastic 4 building to Asteroid M. The game’s 150-plus characters are a who’s who of Marvel history. (Hardcore fans will question the glaring omissions of certain characters, given that random henchmen are included.) There are, however, several downsides. Flying is a bitch and, in some respects, is clunkier than the last Batman game that introduced it. The race challenges are frustrating even for experienced gamers, loading times can take forever or even stall the game, and don’t get me started on the fact that you can’t play as Deadpool until you’re nearly at 75 percent of completion. Even those flaws can be overlooked,with help from the sheer fanboy joy you’ll receive every time you fly through the city as Iron Man, crush cars as The Hulk, and save Manhattan from danger several times. –Gavin Sheehan

Mario Party: Island Tour
Nd Cube Co./Nintendo
Reviewed on: 3DS (Exclusive)
Street: 11.22.13
When Mario Party first came out, I remember playing it on my N64 with my brother and sister. We loved the hell out of that game and played many of the mini-games over and over. Island Tour’s mini-games don’t elicit any such feelings. They’re boring which leads me to realize that there are way too many punny game names for my taste – “Mild Gunman,” “Garden of Eatin’” and “Tanks a Lot” are examples of the terrible clichés that are the first sign of laziness and it carries over to the rest of the game. The boards themselves aren’t enticing—they tried to deviate from the formula of the preceding games by giving each board a different currency besides stars. It was a good try, but it just wasn’t executed well. I never really had any fun with the new mechanics. Island Tour does have a great polished look, but it doesn’t outweigh the disinterested feeling I had while I was trudging through the game. Kids should like it well enough though, so it won’t be a complete waste on them—I just wouldn’t expect the game to hold their attention for longer than half an hour. – Ashley Lippert

NBA 2K14 
Visual Concepts/2K Sports 
Reviewed on: Xbox 360 
Also On: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android 
Street: 10.01.13 
With Visual Concepts squarely focused on the next-generation debut of their signature sports franchise, it’s a surprise there were any new features introduced into the current-gen versions of NBA 2K14. Even odder is how those changes (like the new “Pro-Stick”, which combines dribbling and shooting onto the right analog stick) come at the cost of fixing numerous on-court issues and glitches from NBA 2K13 (which 2K14 unabashedly resembles, right down to menu design). At times, the teammate AI in 2K14 is actually worse than last year’s edition, with players forgetting defensive assignments, boxing out empty air on jump shots, or in MyPlayer mode, generally being ineffective. However, as the only virtual basketball option for current-gen owners (and let’s face it, next-gen owners, too: NBA Live 14 is just terrible), NBA 2K14 is still an enjoyable basketball sim, with some welcome gameplay tweaks and new motion-capture animations (particularly the collisions around the basket) to keep players returning for more multiplayer games or the Association/Franchise mode. –Randy Dankievitch